In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”
The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.
By 30, you should have…
6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
Ayana Byrd began this week’s chapter describing her affinity for staying safe in the middle, never veering too far from the center to make waves.
I didn’t immediately relate. I’ve often considered myself somewhat of a rebel — or at least the black sheep — of my family. After all, I’m the only one who has a facial piercing (my nose, but it counts)! I’m the only one of my generation (until very recently) to get a tattoo — and at that, I have multiple. The horror! I’m the only one who left Florida to pursue a life beyond the Sunshine State.
This is where Ayana and I connect. She detailed her many adventures abroad, feeling limitless as she ventured far beyond the comfort zone of the middle.
It’s always surprised me when someone compliments me on my own big moves. I haven’t given them all that much thought, until now.
New York and San Francisco are largely made up of transplants. Sure, you have your lifers, the people who are quick to remind you they were born and raised there, and will call you out for any embarrassing transplant behavior. But by and large, there are tons of people in both places who’ve moved into these cities for the pursuit of something more. And probably because of that, I haven’t felt like my leaving Florida was all that big a deal. Plenty of people do it. Heck, lots of my colleagues have traveled much further — and risked much more — to come here.
But I shouldn’t lessen its importance, or how much those moves have changed me. Compared to my colleagues and friends, and yes, Ayana Byrd, I’ve done a paltry amount of traveling abroad. But aside from family who served in the Armed Forces, I’ve got the most stamps on my passport.
And without even leaving my zip code, I can see the world in a much more diverse way — challenging the status quo constantly — because I live and breathe in a city that pushes for progress and change.
I’ve had the privilege of learning about more cultures and backgrounds in four years away than I had in the 25 years prior. I’ve experimented with foreign (to me) ingredients, entertainment, customs and traditions. I’ve broadened my perspective on what an impact a life well-traveled can mean. I even spent seven weeks of the last year traveling — albeit, all domestic — because I can always find a reason to say “Yes” to a new experience.
Ayana’s story reminds me there’s so much to say “Yes” to, beyond the 50 states and how it’s OK to be a little scared the first (or every) time you venture somewhere new. Of all my wild and crazy antics, I’ll happily share a full passport and broader understanding of our world for years to come.
I’m out of my mind today after a 6am flight to Phoenix and connection to San Antonio. It’s my first time in the Lone Star State for more than a layover in Dallas-Fort Worth, and I’m beyond pumped to hang with two good friends from high school. We’re here for two days before road tripping to Austin — hang onto your hats.
- “Three’s Company” Live!: Since it’s now a tradition, a friend and I saw the latest drag show installment from the fine folks at Oasis. The characters were over the top, and the jokes were nonstop. I can’t wait for the next series these divas bring to life.
- Father John Misty: I was skeptical of this indie rocker when he came to town last year, following the release of his second solo album. But the BF got us tickets and I was swiftly proven wrong. His sound is soothing, yet can shake you to the core. I do love you, Honeybear.
- 8th Grade Girl Shuts Down BMI: I’m in the business of health now, but BMI continues to be a controversial topic. While I do believe it serves a purpose, I have to applaud 8th grader Tessa Embry, who wrote a scathing takedown of the concept for a health class exam. Adolescent bodies are judged plenty without this metric to worry about — well done, Tessa.
- Mutual Rescue: This series from the Humane Society of Silicon Valley is guaranteed to make you smile. And ugly cry, but smiles too. The latest introduces us to Eric, who was suffering from Type 2 diabetes and severely overweight. His and Peety’s story will hit you right in the heartstrings.